M-Sport Ford World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin had an opportunity to challenge for another top result at this weekend’s Rally Argentina. Locked in an intense battle with the crews now fighting for second place, the pairing had their sights firmly fixed on a third podium in as many events for the EcoBoost-powered Ford Fiesta WRC.
But it wasn’t to be. Oversteering into a slide through this morning’s second speed test (SS10), their Fiesta impacted with a boulder that brought their rally to an abrupt end. Returning to service, the damage proved too severe to continue and the team will now focus on preparing the Fiesta ahead the next event in Chile.
Elsewhere in the team, Teemu Suninen and Marko Salminen continued to gain good knowledge of the stages. Despite running first on the road and suffering an intermittent issue with the intercom during the afternoon loop, the pairing kept their noses clean and made some good progress through the cleaner, faster stages.
Team Principal, Richard Millener, said:
“It’s a frustrating end to the day as Elfyn could have easily been in a podium place right now. Unfortunately, he just got a little out of shape and managed to find the only massive rock in about three miles!
“The impact was pretty heavy and when we got the car back to service we saw that there was too much damage to the chassis and transmission to continue. The technicians are already on with preparing the car for Chile, and it looks as though we will be okay.
“Elfyn and Scott are already focused on this next event and the plan is to come back fighting. In fact the mechanics have already made it clear to Elfyn – they’ll fix the car providing he gets a strong result in Chile!”
Elfyn Evans (DNF) said:
“I’ve used these notes for quite a few years and not had a problem before, but when I arrived at the corner I felt I was carrying just a little bit too much speed. I threw it in, and we made the corner to be fair, but I couldn’t recover the oversteer. I planted the throttle but couldn’t get the car straight and we hit a fairly massive boulder that was lining the road.”
Teemu Suninen (7th) said:
“Today was a difficult day for us. We were first on the road where the conditions were a bit more slippery and we couldn’t match the times of the fastest drivers. Then in the afternoon the intercom was cutting and I couldn’t hear all of the notes from Marko. He had to give me the instructions by hand which took away some of the confidence.”
1. Thierry Neuville / Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) 2:37:23.6
2. Andreas Mikkelsen / Ander Jaeger (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +45.7
3. Kris Meeke / Sebastian Marshall (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:03.2
4. Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (Citroen C3 WRC) +1:06.0
5. Dani Sordo / Carlos del Barrio (Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC) +1:12.0
6. Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (Toyota Yaris WRC) +1:28.3
7. Teemu Suninen / Marko Salminen (Ford Fiesta WRC) +3:48.4